LEXINGTON, KY. - University of Arkansas senior point guard Gary Ervin put it very bluntly minutes after Kentucky rallied for a 63-58 win at Rupp Arena on Saturday.
"There's no excuse," Ervin said. "It was like we were down 10 points with one minute to go. It was a game where we were up with four minutes to go. We needed to get stops on the defensive end, which we were unable to do and covert on offense."
Indeed Arkansas players and former Kentucky star and current Razorback head coach John Pelphrey will look back on this as a missed opportunity.
The Razorbacks (18-8, 7-5) lost despite Sonny Weems tossing in 26 points, leading 39-32 with 10 minutes left and being up 53-50 with just over three minutes left on the clock.
Weems' bucket that put Arkansas up 55-54 with 2:34 left and was the last time the visitors led.
"It's real disappointing," Weems said. "We wanted this one real bad. I think we just let their main two players take over at the end. They stepped up and made plays."
Indeed Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford combined for 23 of their team's 31 points with Patrick Patterson getting several key rebounds in that stretch.
"We are comfortable in situations at the end of the basketball game, even if we are down," Patterson said. "…In close situations we look to Ramel Bradley to make free throws and set up offensive plays on the court for Joe Crawford."
Weems had 22 of his 26 points in the second half after a slow start to the opening half.
"It was real frustrating (in the first half)," Weems said. "I didn't get very many good looks at all. That's where you have to give Kentucky credit. At halftime, coach told me to stay aggressive and keep shooting. That's what I did in the second half and I just have to give credit to my teammates for giving me the opportunity."
While Weems was 10-of-20 from the field, the rest of his teammates combined for just 10 field goals among themselves.
Arkansas fell two games back in the SEC West race when Mississippi State rallied to win at South Carolina 61-56.
The Razorbacks have four regular season games left beginning with a road game at Alabama on Wednesday, hosting Vandy, going to Ole Miss and hosting Auburn.
"We just need to go out and win," Ervin said. "There are no excuses left."
Ramon Harris comes up with a rebound as Gary Ervin and Charles Thomas look on.
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